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How to change your hair once you’re over 50. Plus: Gwyneth Paltrow’s secret for thinning hair
June 29, 2015 | By:
Is short hair really better if you're over 50? We ask top London celebrity hairdresser, Errol Douglas, and reveal the miracle hair product used by Gwyneth Paltrow
Errol Douglas LEWIS HAMILTON 620

Errol Douglas (left) has styled celebrities including Jade Jagger, Hilary Clinton and Lewis Hamilton

It can be daunting to change your hair, especially if you’ve stuck to the same style for a good few years. But a new colour, tint, style or cut can give you renewed confidence and freshen up your look. However, no one wants to look like mutton, and it can be tricky to find styles to suit you in magazines where the average model is aged 24.

We met up with Errol Douglas, who has styled A-listers including Bianca Jagger and Hilary Clinton, to get his tips on restyling your hair. He’s been awarded an MBE for education services to the hairdressing industry, so he knows a thing or two about style, restyling and ageing perfectly. 

Sitting in his Belgravia salon, a cool small venue that is pleasantly relaxed and non-prissy, he cuts straight to it (excuse the pun).

“Your style is about who you are now, not who you were when you were 20,” he says. “Sure a cut and colour can take years off you, but I think style is about creating a chic, beautiful you.”

Errol Douglas. Photo by Karen Hatch Photography

Errol Douglas at work. Photo by Karen Hatch Photography

The biggest hair mistake over 50

“I hate the cardboard hairspray blowdry look. One of the biggest hair sins women of a certain age can do is to use too much mousse, too much heat and back comb,” says the effervescent Errol.

How often should I cut my hair? 

“For short hair you need to get a cut every four weeks. This is because short hair styles are exactly that, they’re styles, and should be kept looking sharp. You will really reap the rewards if you look after your cut. With longer hair you can stretch to around six weeks.”

I proffer that this can get pretty expensive, but Errol is resolute (and rather convincing): “You walk around with your hair every day of your life,” says the 51-year-old.

“If you think people notice a great dress or amazing new shoes, you should see how much a great hairstyle can do for you, and your confidence. Going to your hairdresser should not be considered a treat, it’s a necessity.”

Errol Douglas hair celebrity KELLY ROWLAND

Errol with Kelly Rowland

Moroccanoil for dehydrated hair: stylist’s favourite 

As the UK and Ireland Ambassador for Moroccanoil, it’s little surprise that Errol is a fan of the hair treatment that has taken the world by storm. Errol’s colourists often put Morrocanoil with the dye to condition your hair as you dye it.

Adem Oygur, a talented colourist and stylist at Errol’s salon, has a few other tips up his sleeve: “Moroccanoil is one of the most fantastic products around,” he says. “It can be quite heavy so I prefer using the Moroccanoil lite.

“You can apply it up to six times a day if your hair is dehydrated and lifeless and it will act as a booster and make your hair instantly shiny.” 

Gwyneth Paltrow hair 620

Gwyneth Paltrow is one celebrity user of Viviscal

Viviscal for thinning hair: used by Gwyneth

Errol is getting behind new product Viviscal, used by Abbey Clancy, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Viviscal is a twice-daily hair growth supplement designed to reduce hair shedding and improve hair thickness. 

Unusual, yes, but Errol is again emphatic: “Vivascal is going to be as big as Morroccanoil. Start taking them and in 30 days you’ll see a change, your hair will change and feel more nourished. After three months you’ll see a proper transformation.

“It’s an incredible product that will benefit so many people with thin and thinning hair. It’s for those who suffer from hair loss due to chemotherapy, stress and other ailments, and can help those who find that after 50 they have a thinning crown or T-section.”

Errol’s best hairstyles for over-50s

Long, but not very long “If your hair is very long it’s time to go for the chop,” Errol says. “You don’t have to have a bob or a short crop but very long hair can get straggly as you get older.

Layers and softness “If you’re keeping some length, don’t have poker straight hair as it will look harsh and age you. Add some volume and layers for a more attractive look. Softness is everything for the 50-plus bracket. 

A bob or shorter “A classy chignon is an option and up-dos work really well, but personally, I do think a bob or shorter hair cut can look so fresh and modern on women of any age.”

Colour grey hair “Grey hair can look masculine and does age you. You can opt for a platinum style that’s sassy but for the most part I would suggest colouring grey hair, even if it’s just adding a toner.”

Five steps to healthy hair

“The right hair colour and cut can elevate you and give you a new confidence,” says Errol.

  • Make sure you rinse after shampooing and conditioning. Rinse for double the time you currently do. 
  • Don’t use too much product. You only need a little hold spray for most styles. 
  • Don’t douse yourself with hairspray. The cardboard look is pretty old-fashioned.
  • Blowdry your hair with a more natural layered look, if you have longer hair. The style can last for days and this looks keeps things sassy.
  • Pay a bit extra and get a good hairdryer. It will shave time off your routine.
How to change your hair completely

Lots of women go for a big restyle at some point during their life, but Adem advises some caution: “If you are going for a restyle, take it in stages. Don’t go for a massive chop straight away as you may not like the stark difference in your look.

“For clients who want to go shorter, I recommend doing two cuts to achieve one style. Then if you like the mid-way point or decide you don’t want to go quite as short, you can have a bespoke style.

“A shorter style can look very contemporary and if you have a busy life then shorter hair is often easier to manage. My favourite celebrity for this is Sharon Stone. She always looks classy, modern and sexy.”

Just as Adem is finishing my quick trim (my hair has rarely looked better) the in-house chef brings up lunch. Yes, there’s a chef, and a manicurist, but this is after all one of London’s top hair salons.

Thankfully, though, Errol and his team keep things relaxed. Going to the hairdresser should be a regular trip not a treat, and it’s a necessity that shouldn’t be overlooked. But it is nice when the experience is as good as this.